European heatwave: thousands evacuated from tourist destinations in Greece and Spain amid raging wildfires

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The heatwave hitting Europe has seen wildfire breakout in popular spots in Greece and Spain, with more warnings in place across the continent

Thousands of people have been evacuated from tourist hot-spots in Europe as the ongoing heatwave continues to batter the continent and wildfires threaten areas of Spain and Greece.

Two blazes caught outside the Greek capital of Athens on Monday (17 July), with children forced to flee from their summer camp. Local villagers were also forced to flee their homes as the fires spread.

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The deadly combination of blistering heat, dry land and high winds saw the inferno take over the town of Kouvaras, located around 17 miles from Athens. The fire ripped through seven miles of land in just two hours, with firefighters continuing to battle the fire. A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson.

Likewise, 1,200 children were evacuated from their summer camp on the seaside resort of Loutraki. The town, located 45 miles away from the Kouvaras, has also seen wildfires engulf the surroundings, with residents of a rehab centre also evacuated.

Athens has been hit with a raised fire alert level, with much of southern Greece also impacted by these warnings. The National Observatory of Athens has issued the highest wildfire risk alert on the scale at a Level Four.

Wildfire have ripped through villages and towns outside of Athens as the heatwave hitting Europe continues to cause problems. (Credit: AFP via Getty Images)Wildfire have ripped through villages and towns outside of Athens as the heatwave hitting Europe continues to cause problems. (Credit: AFP via Getty Images)
Wildfire have ripped through villages and towns outside of Athens as the heatwave hitting Europe continues to cause problems. (Credit: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

The heatwave and consequent wildfires have been troubling not only Greek authorities, but also authorities around Europe, including in North Macedonia and Kosovo which have both introduced warnings.

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It comes after wildfires ravaged La Palma and the Canary Islands in Spain, with thousands of people evacuated on Sunday (16 July). Wildfires in La Palma have caused great concern, quickly covering 460 square kilometres.

However, Spanish authorities are hoping that a grip on the situation is in sight, with weaker winds and slightly cooler temperatures allowing firefighters to tackle the blazes. Around 4,000 people had been evacuated, however those impacted were slowly allowed to return to their homes from Sunday evening onwards.

In Switzerland, more than 200 villagers were evacuated as around 150 firefighters battled a wildfire in the Swiss Alps on Tuesday (18 July).

The troubling wildfires come as temperatures soar across Europe, with the anti-cyclone Charon sweeping its way across the continent. Countries such as Italy and Spain have seen temperatures of more than 45 degrees Celsius in recent days, with the Italian island of Sardinia forecasted to reach a peak of 46 degrees Celsius this afternoon.

Charon, which is named after the ferryman of the dead in Greek mythology, has wrecked havoc across European countries, bringing with it record-breaking temperatures.

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